Afghan evacuees have been kept in Emirati housing centers for one full year expecting their fate in a third destination.
Thousands of Afghans have demonstrated in Abu Dhabi calling for the speeding up of what they perceive to be a cumbersome resettlement program. Following the airlift from Kabul during the Taliban seizure a year ago, the group has resided in the United Arab Emirates.
Last week, Afghan protesters yelled for relief while carrying placards. They were housed in an Abu Dhabi facility where protests were also held.
Numerous Afghans were still residing in the temporary shelters, according to estimates. They are on a limbo while they hope to be resettled in the US or another country.
Images and video captured protests by kids and adults inside the Emirates Humanitarian City building. One young man carried a tiny sign that read, “One year is enough!”
“Nearly one year, we have been here in detention and the camp is like a modern prison. No one is allowed to go out, they don’t know when (we) will be settled permanently to any country,” an anonymous Afghan told reporters.
Some people yelled “we demand justice” while others had “freedom” on their blindfolds. Others tied their wrists as a sign of protest against the facility’s alleged prison-like circumstances.
According to Abu Dhabi, local authorities are determined to make sure that Afghan evacuees may live in peace, security, and respect. That’s while Abu Dhabi is getting frustrated since the procedure was taking a bit longer than it had hoped.
According to an official, the UAE and the US embassy are coordinating to relocate the Afghans evacuees in the US or somewhere else. Similar demonstrations in February prompted a US State Department official to appear and say that all Afghans there will be relocated by August.
Afghan Evacuees in UAE
Emirati government representatives agreed to provisionally accommodate the Afghan evacuees on emergency reasons. The UAE normally does not welcome refugees.
Around 12,000 Afghans were reportedly housed at the Abu Dhabi facility and another zone in the vicinity. More than 10,000 Afghans have been moved to the United States, a State Department spokeswoman told reporters.
In order to discover “resettlement options” for those who unqualified for the US, Washington collaborated with Abu Dhabi and other nations. Washington would “ensure routine screening and vetting methods” while being “relentless” in efforts to identify people who were qualified for migration.
The world witnessed the US disastrous departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan in August 2021. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans were transported in frantic flights during the evacuation mission. The operation was guided by an agreement between the US and the Taliban forces.
Advocates claim that despite the expansion of the numerous US migration paths following the withdrawal, there is still a significant congestion.
Since the departure, more than 85,000 Afghans have been transferred to the United States, with many of them being vetted in the Middle East and Europe. At the same time, US officials have stated that transfer procedure is difficult. The vetting procedure has been made more difficult by the large number of Afghans who have left home without proper identification.
Others are not eligible for resettlement since they have no connections to the US or any other nation.
No one would be compelled to return to Afghanistan, according to authorities. After waiting for months, however, several Afghans living in the UAE have made a voluntary homecoming.
The condition in Emirati housing were reportedly so tough and tense that this group preferred a return to the homeland. They already knew what was expecting them under Taliban.